Nothing could stop Collins from wearing Maple Leaf

ADAM WAZNY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

After the 2006 Winter Olympics, Delaney Collins decided to make some sacrifices.

No summer vacations, no trips to the lake. She would turn down requests for hockey schools. She would focus on herself, both physically and mentally, knowing she didn't want to go through that Olympic experience again.

Collins was an alternate in Turin, meaning no gold medal and no standing on the blue-line singing the Canadian national anthem.

"I basically spent the last summer training as hard as I could," the Pilot Mound-product said after being announced as one of the 20 players on Canada's roster for the 2007 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championships. "People who are close to me will know that I pretty much did everything possible to be here today. I knew that in order to get back on this roster that I was going to have to prove myself that I deserve another chance at this."

"She's gone through a lot in the past few years, but she's shown such resolve," said teammate Jennifer Botterill. "I know the team is proud of her. I'm very happy for her."

Collins, 29, found out on Monday that she had put in enough hard work over the last year to impress head coach Melody Davidson to skate in her fourth world championship.

" I was so incredibly happy that I teared up," the former CIS All-Canadian said. "It's been a long road for me since being an alternate in Italy and having to deal with being so incredibly proud of my teammates for winning, but so sad that I didn't receive a gold medal."

That's the balancing act for many players in the national program. Pushing aside your own disappointment and forcing yourself to wear a smile around your teammates is extremely draining. Collins singled out Winnipeg-born goaltender Sami Jo Small yesterday, knowing how difficult it will be for her not to be able to compete for a world title in front of the hometown crowd.

"I know that I'll support Sami-Jo through this and I know that she's going to support me and encourage me," Collins said.


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